Onward and upward with the rafters

Dan, Travis, Josh and Brad still working at 6:30 this evening.

Guesthouse and main living connection from the west

Guesthouse and main living connection from the east

A complicated mass of steel and wood angles


Rafters, collar tie and beam

Pretty strange looking building at this stage with rafters only at both ends.

The first steel rod collar tie is in.

Rafters, collar tie and new beam.


The Roof is Happening

This is the outdoor porch part of the roof.

Brad, Josh and Dan cutting and fitting rafters

Construction site from the southeast looking very much like a construction site.

Construction site from the west looking very unlike a construction site.

Unfortunately, by 3:00 work had stopped. A huge downpour moved in requiring a quick scramble to put away tools and cover lumber. Tomorrow the forecast is for a couple of showers, but no rain like today. Hopefully we'll be back up on the roof tomorrow. We're all, needless to say, anxious for the main living to take shape.

More on the Bridge

Photos by Tim Leonard


The bridge is beautiful!!!

And we celebrate!


The Bridge

All I can say is Wow! Lots of really hard, hot, and outstanding work from the crew this past few days and the results are stunning.


Two Railing Sections

The first two sections were done at the time of this picture. By the end of the day four sections were done -- that's one side of the bridge (the long side). Tomorrow the panels for the west side of the bridge will be made, and all of them installed.

Ben and Eric

We were delighted to see Ben and Eric today -- it's been waaaaay too long!

Eric, Ben & Brad in the garden

A gardened construction site...

Our sunflowers are blooming and our corn has tassels with my worries of a wimpy garden unfounded. This construction site stops most of our visitors in their tracks. Their exclamation: "Wow!" The flowers and vegetables are growing and the land is healing, right beside the house being built. This is most satisfying! and highly unusual! Our workers totally respect the gardens and honor the pathways. Later in the summer they will feast on the corn.

Our one and only step

is a beauty! Unfortunately, this step is difficult to photograph, but it is beautiful! Brad created it out of an "I" beam. This step is in the guesthouse, going into the bath. It floats in steel magnificence.

Bridge handrail prototype

Using the old, rusty, but beautiful iron Brad found at Skagit Steel, here is the prototype for the bridge railing. Today five workers (Tim, Brad, Josh, Dan & Travis) are pouring on the effort to begin and finish the project. Looks to me, in these early stages, that Brad has once again brought us a creative work of art.


Prototype Floor

Annie is checking out the prototype floor for the guesthouse. The bridge planks have been removed from the bridge (left) for sanding and oiling. They are now ready to install permanently. The inside flooring is designed to look like the planks on the bridge which have big air spaces for drainage, but instead of spaces there will be metal strips.


Why Separate Buildings?

In our design we decided every room must have dual functions. We'd use the sun to offset our need for full use of the power grid; we'd manage our site water efficiently; we'd build small; we'd make use of recycled materials whenever possible; we're be careful with the land and repair construction damage with native plants or food crops; and we'd create wildlife habitat. In that equation, people ask, "so, why three buildings?"

That's a very good question because three buildings are less efficient than one and efficiency has been a driving design force. However, with each room functioning in multiple ways, and only 860+ sq. ft. of heated space, we knew we'd need room from one another. Each of us would need private space to make noise without damaging our relationship. Ed loves loud rock n' roll. I only like it a little. I love loud opera, Ed likes it only a little. The operative word here is "loud". I rarely vacuum our apartment because I can't play opera loud, and, in my mind, that is the only way to vacuum or clean house -- opera and incense. Our fellow apartment dwellers wouldn't like either. They'd like Ed's music even less. With separate buildings we can cut loose.

Also, we find as we age our sleep patterns are strange, with one or the other of us prowling the house at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. We entertain ourselves as best we can without bothering our sleeping partner or we search for another bed so we can toss and turn to our heart's content. We call it "sleeping around". With our separate buildings we can use our computers; listen to music; turn on the lights to read; make jam; or even take a bath without bothering one another. And with house guests we can all have wonderful visits and then retire to separate spaces -- small, but separate spaces.

Our retreats are not just "heated" retreats. Each building also has outdoor covered areas for enjoying inclement weather without getting soaking wet. Being forced inside just because it's raining is painful to me because I so love being in the weather, but don't much want to always get wet. Outdoor covered areas expand our home significantly without adding to our heating costs.

Accordingly we have 2000 sq. ft. of roof area, with only 860 sq. ft. of it heated The summer months will turn our main living space into one seamless indoor/outdoor room. Even our kitchen is designed to partly move outside during the warm weather, with carts we can use for food preparation on the kitchen patio.

Our new home, to the extent possible given building codes and the like, turns the average home's design on its ears. We definitely are not building the realtor's or banker's dream home of a three car garage, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, entry hall, dining room, living room, and huge kitchen. We didn't build for someone else, but for us. I've always rejected the usual resale argument and created special, if not normal, homes. Resale has always been swift and financially rewarding. Will it be with this home? Who knows but we don't plan on that being our problem. At our ages, this is the home we hope to end our lives in, barring the need for, God forbid, a nursing home. However, I suspect, given the popularity of living small, with solar and in town, resale will not be a problem. Others will determine that though (I hope!).

On another note, when we purchased our carriage doors (two are used to close up the shop area) there was a set of three available. We only needed two, but purchased all three because that's how they came and it's difficult to locate carriage door. We'd planned on selling the third. Today I'm off to paint the third carriage door because we now have found the perfect use for it. Stay tuned.



Brad and Ed give Judy and Curt a construction tour. It was fun talking with Judy about the indoor-outdoor relationship of our project because she, like me, wants to spend most of her time outside -- rain or shine, hot or cold. And Curt, who is spending large portions of his retirement creating wonderful metal sculpture, loves all our recycled and found objects.


Visitors Bill & Mike

Last coat of mud?

Brad is closing in on the last coat of mud. Once the sanding is done we'll see if more mudding is needed. Soon -- paint!


Keeping Fran and Kramer out of trouble has finally been figured out. The beautiful old welded wire, to be used for our bridge railing, has a temporary job of site control. It's no longer "go to your room" but "go to your cage." An out of jail pass was earned with ice cream treats.

Rock Crusher

Travis, Dan, Josh and Brad are having a big day of lifting. Here they're unloading our new (old) rock crusher part from Brad's truck. As with the stream boulders leverage from the roof helps ease the load.

Pond Edges

Travis created very neat edges for securing the edges of the pond liner.

Stream Boulders

Josh, Dianne, Bill, Mike, Travis, Dan and Brad do some heavy stream boulder lifting. Leverage help from up on the roof; ropes, knots, muscles and team work moved some pretty heavy boulders.